Beverly Cleary's books have long been favorites of mine. I cannot even begin to explain how much I have enjoyed her books over the years, or count the many times they have been read. When people think of Cleary the Ramona books come instantly to mind as does Ribsy, Socks, and Ralph S. Mouse. After I had exhausted what I thought was all of Cleary's work, my mom introduced me to Cleary's books she authored for older readers. What a joy!
Luckiest Girl was the first of these books geared toward tween/teen girls. Shelly Latham lives with her family in Oregon, an only child. When her mother's college friend suggests that Shelly come live with her family in California, Shelly is intrigued and excited by this proposal. Despite her mother's reluctance to let her go, Shelly does indeed spend a year in California learning how another family lives, making new friends, and participating in activities she is unfamiliar with. And Shelly manages to find a wonderful boyfriend as well.
I loved the sunny California setting, the scenes I could envision of orange groves, the busy household Shelly became a part of, the boy Shelly longed to date. As an adult I also appreciate the wholesomeness of these books as well, providing quality reading material without adult content. I absolutely love The Luckiest Girl and Beverly Cleary.